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Mentor–mentee relationships as anchors for pre service teachers’ coping on professional placement

Anat Wilson (Department of Education, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia)
Minh Huynh (Department of Statistics, Data Science and Epidemiology, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia)

International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education

ISSN: 2046-6854

Article publication date: 31 December 2019

Issue publication date: 19 February 2020




Mentor–mentee relationships are important for individual wellbeing, mental health, professional agency and confidence. In the context of an initial teacher education (ITE) programme, these relationships become a key factor. Pre-service teachers’ capacity to cope on a professional placement is closely linked to the quality of the mentoring relationship. The purpose of this paper is to identify the negative coping strategies used by pre-service teachers who struggle to cope in a school placement in Melbourne, Australia, highlighting the importance of providing quality mentorship.


A mixed-methods approach was used for the analysis of pre-service teachers’ coping on a teaching practicum and to identify common related beliefs. A total of 177 pre-service teachers, who have completed at least one supervised practicum participated in this study. The Coping Scale for Adults second edition (CSA-2) was administered alongside an open-ended questionnaire to identify frequently used coping styles and associated thoughts and beliefs.


The results show that pre-service teachers who favour non-productive coping strategies were more likely to express feelings of loneliness, pointed at poor communication with their mentor and described thoughts about leaving the teaching profession.


Using the Coping Scale for Adults in the context of practicum provides an insight into individual experiences. The implications of mentor–mentee relationships for individuals’ coping are highlighted. initial teacher education programs and schools have significant roles in supporting mentor–mentee relationships and practical supportive interventions are offered.



Funding: Swinburne University of Technology, Department of Education Mentored Seeding Grant.


Wilson, A. and Huynh, M. (2020), "Mentor–mentee relationships as anchors for pre service teachers’ coping on professional placement", International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 71-86.



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